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OK Supreme Court justices call out Attorney General for “Abdication of Duties.”

7:13 AM EDT on May 4, 2022

Score one for the good guys at OG&E!

The Oklahoma Supreme Court approved yesterday an $800,000,000+ bond for OG&E to recover expenses from the record-breaking February 2021 cold spell / Kevin Stitt ski trip. It will cost customers about $3 a month for the next 28 years.

More of a formality than anything, the bonds were approved by an 8-o margin, but in concurring opinions, several justices left scathing critiques of spineless Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor, who instead of representing consumers against the powerful energy conglomerate, basically bent the knee and let his puppet masters at OG&E rip off Oklahomans for the next 28-years.

In a concurring opinion by Justices Douglas Combs and Noma Gurich, they claim Attorney General John O'Connor – naturally, a Kevin Stitt appointee – "failed to litigate legitimate points" against the bonds and even accused him of "Abdication of Duties."

Check this out:

Of more grave concern to me, however, is the Attorney General's abdication of his duties to OG&E's consumers in this action. The Attorney General has a statutory duty "as the chief law officer of the state" to represent and protect the collective interests of all utility consumers of this state in rate-related proceedings before the Corporation Commission. Yet he shirked this duty both in this proceeding and that below.

Wow. As a Stitt appointee who was once deemed unfit to be a judge by the American Bar Association, you had to figure that O' Conner was a shady grifter who would put corporate money-making interests ahead of the people's, but it's still surprising to see usually mild and esteemed Supreme Court Justice's calling him out for his willful incompetence.

In their joint opinion, Combs and Gurich outline how O'Connor got out of OG&E's way, ignored valid arguments against the bonds, and through blatant and willful inaction, cost consumers money...

He also failed to litigate other legitimate points raised by Protestants. Rather, he chose to support securitization in the abstract, contending that securitization of any amount would save OG&E's consumers money. Had he litigated the amount of OG&E's extraordinary costs, he would have likely saved those consumers even more money and, better yet, would have engaged the adversarial process so as to reach a more just result...

The Attorney General's desire not to press those issues before the Corporation Commission naturally translated into his failure to file an appeal with this Court. Of all people, the Attorney General would have been the best party to file such an appeal, particularly insofar as he arguably doesn't have to post the nearly billion-dollar supersedeas bond that other Protestants would...

The Attorney General's failure to file an appeal is ultimately what prevents this Court from reaching the merits issues raised by Protestants.

I'm not a legal historian, yet, but Supreme Court justices calling out an AG has to be a rare and somewhat unprecedented act. It's also great news for high-flying Attorney General candidate Genter Drummond, who's getting a ton of campaign material out of this.

In addition to criticizing the Attorney General's office, the justices also threw some shade at lawmakers for including a hand-tied Supreme Court in the bond approval charade. Here's a snippet aia a concurring opinion by Justice Dustin Rowe:

I concur in the Court's judgment insofar as I do not recognize any clear constitutional or legal infirmities in Petitioner's application. I write separately to address once more a number of concerns I have with the nature of these proceedings. This is now the second time in a matter of weeks that this Court has been prompted by virtue of legislative enactments to preemptively "approve" the issuance of hundreds of millions of dollars in government-backed bonds, comprising debts that will be born in whole by the people of Oklahoma. The law in question here, the February 2021 Regulated Utility Consumer Protection Act, also narrowly circumscribes our authority in approving the bonds. Despite the limited scope of our review, our approval of the bonds in question will permanently foreclose the right of any person or entity to challenge the validity of these bonds in the future, even if a meritorious claim arises.

Wow. Those are strong words. Obviously, our lawmakers at the Capitol will read this and immediately get to work on remedying the situation. You know, like banning Supreme Court Justices from issuing opinions involving cases that involve OG&E screwing over consumers.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.

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